There has been some dispute about my strong words used against Ramdev's running away, wearing women's clothes, and hiding behind women.
I have a very stringent benchmark of leadership, in which I slot people based not just on their knowledge and capability, but character. I generally rate character (determination) and courage HIGHER than what the person believes in or knows.
Let me therefore provide a few examples of the various "levels" of leaders, and you'll soon figure out why Ramdev ranks so poorly. (Btw, if you are interested in an article on this subject that I published in 1982, please read these scanned pages from the newspaper: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4)
Level 5 leaders
a) Abraham Lincoln. This man not only stood for freedom, but fought one election after another. He lost most of them before winning the presidency of USA. Then he performed his duties in an exemplary manner – which included fighting the divisive forces in the US. He was never a coward. When he went to visit the battlefront, he would stand right in the front of the troops. They loved him. And on top of that he liberated all slaves in US.
(This is a pen sketch I made in 1982. For slightly bigger image, click on the picture)
b) Mahatma Gandhi. This man ranks below Lincoln because he gave up public life and politics after independence. He also did not fully grasp the concept of freedom and good governance (Lincoln understood these things well); indeed he said he wanted all politics to come to an end, being a semi-anarchist. But note that Gandhi had undaunted, unparalleled courage:
(watch this from 12 minutes to understand what I mean)
Level 4 leaders
a) Lala Lajpat Rai. This man is lower in the hierarchy to Gandhi, but he comes pretty close, due to his valiant fight against the British. Many other leaders of India's independence movement come close to Lajpat Rai, as well. Indeed, had Nehru not become India's prime minister and harmed India badly, he would be here as well.
b) Rajaji, Masani and some of the other founding members of Swatantra Party are level 4 leaders. These people were socialists at one time, then changed their mind and started advocating freedom. The main thing is that they TRIED to make India a free country by joining politics and leading India. They did not merely preach.
c) Vivekananda. This man went about transforming the very way in which we see ourselves, at a time when India was in its lowest mental condition, being curbed by British rulers for over 150 years. His words are stirring at a level that few can compare: Arise, awake, and stop not till your goal is reached. There were others like him (Dayanand comes to mind, but also Ram Mohun Roy and Aurobindo) who were fearless and went about their business without the slightest concern about what others might think of them.
d) Bhagat Singh and terrorists of the Indian independence movement are also level 4 leaders, despite my disagreeing entirely with their methods. The main thing why they rank so high is that they were brave at a level that is exemplary. We would all do well to imitate their bravery.
Among non-Indians, Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson (and other leaders of the American independence movement) come to mind. All were DOERS. And they were good and competent.
Level 3 leaders
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan come to mind. People with MODEST intellectual means, but determination to bring greater freedom into the world.
Level 2 leaders
The typical political leader of an average Western nation today (like Obama, Cameron, etc.) would qualify as a level 2 leader. These are not necessarily bright, nor particularly focused on freedom. But they bumble their way to a modestly good society.
Level 1 leaders
Nehru: He ruined his "ranking" because of his socialism. As I said, he was a good man and fought very well for India's independence. He also helped strengthen democracy in India. He was a doer. For these things we are eternally grateful to him. But unfortunately, being a socialist, he deeply harmed India's governance.
Level 0 leaders
Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh: These are/were corrupt, weak leaders, but they at least brought a semblance of good policy to India.
Level -1 leaders
Narendra Modi. He is a strong leader with a few good economic policies. But he doesn't support freedom. And he got his hands sullied in the way he handled Godhra.
Level -2 leaders
Indira Gandhi and Hiteswar Saikia: These were extremely corrupt people, and socialists to boot. They harmed India badly, but at least they kept the country together.
Level -3 leaders
Baba Ramdev, is a coward who neither knows what is good for India nor could avoid hiding amongst women when the police came to disband his camp.
A person like Rahul Gandhi also ranks, in my view, at this level. He is totally unfit to govern India.
Level -4 leaders
The typical Indian intellectual, journalist, "educated" person comes into this category. This kind of person does not even TRY to change things. He merely preaches. He ranks BELOW BABA RAMDEV.
There needs to be one more category:
Level -5 leaders
And this is the category where people like Hitler and Osama bin Laden would fit.
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